Turkey FM: Turkey and Iraq Will Carry Out Joint Operations Against Kurds

Joint operations expected after Iraq's May elections

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced on Thursday that an agreement is in place with neighboring Iraq to carry out joint, cross-border operations against Kurdish forces, with a focus on PKK targets in northernmost Iraq.

Cavusoglu didn’t provide any operational details on the matter, but suggested the operations would be launched shortly after Iraq’s May elections. He predicted the invasion of Afrin, in northern Syria, would be completed by then.

This would be unusual, as Iraq has generally complained about Turkey’s attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq throughout the years as a violation of sovereignty, and has expressed unhappiness about Turkey having troops in Iraq without permission.

The Iraqi government has not addressed this at all so far, but after military offensives against Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga, they may be less concerned about keeping their Kurdish minority happy, and more willing to confront groups like the PKK.

The PKK presence in Iraq, while predating the PKK-Turkey ceasefire, greatly grew during that period, with the deal that PKK forces in Turkey would withdraw to Iraq, pending talks. Since Turkey disavowed the ceasefire, they’ve greatly increased attacks on northern Iraq.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.